My friend Kathy Voyles is a self-confessed foodie. In the talk she just gave at our local TEDx event in The Hague, she introduced herself as a Food Inspirer. But, to me, Kathy is much more than that. Not only has she reignited my love of food and cooking, but she has reminded me how important food, its provenance and how vital it is that we share important food with important people.
So, why am I telling you this, here, on a blog about writing?
Simple. Kathy’s talk is a brilliant example of someone who has found her story and found a way to communicate that story perfectly so that it fits her brand. As she tells her story, the audience is sucked into it. Together we learn a little about her childhood, growing up on the farm in New Zealand. We lick our lips as she tells us of her father’s love for tiramisu, her mother’s for caramel meringue and we nod knowingly when she shares insights into the value of sitting round a table with great minds, inspired by the man who created The Eden Project.
In her short talk, in short, Kathy obeyed the rules of a great storyteller. She was passionate, she told stories, she shared her emotions, gave us food for thought, and then, at the end, there was a call to action. A takeaway.
This blog post may seem to have been about speaking and storytelling, but I believe that writers too have much to learn from Kathy about authenticity and giving value and about sharing and inspiring. If you can do on the page what she does on the stage, then you are most definitely on the right lines.
This month, in my column, as Writer in Residence, for The Hague Online, I wrote about the magic of writing and how, sometimes, my characters actually teach me stuff I didn’t know… weird eh?
It is also the first time I mention the Speedwriting Slam, my Writers’ Circle has planned to take place on Sunday October 16th at Quirky Lunchroom in The Hague, from 6-8 pm. Just turn up to attend.
So, to find out about that magic I was talking about, please read on.
In this three part series, I am delighted to introduce Linda Janssen of the award-winning Adventures in Expatland as a guest poster. Here, inspired by the amazingly successful Jack Canfield, she shares the nuggets distilled from his recent webinar into bite-sized nuggets of inspirational goodness. Today’s post, the last in the series, is all about the piece of the puzzle that most people shun – promotion! Here goes:
Getting Where you Want to Be, part III
This is the final in a three-part series based on the recent 90-minute webinar ‘How to Get Where You Want to Be as an Author/Speaker’. Steve Harrison, publisher of ‘Radio/TV Interview Report’, interviewed Jack Canfield of the highly successful Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise. Canfield generously shared his ideas and insights to help authors market and sell their books..
The ‘Chicken Soup’ franchise created by Canfield and his co-founder Mark Victor Hansen boasts 200+ titles and 115 million copies sold to date in 41 languages. Canfield is also the author of highly acclaimed training/coaching books such as The Success Principles, The Power of Focus,The Aladdin Factor and Dare to Win.
Part I highlighted some of Canfield’s core beliefs fueling his continual quest as a ‘student/practitioner of the newest and latest practices’ in marketing and publicity; Part II took a look at some of his specific suggestions for selling books. Part III offers more of his ideas to help get your book into the hands of eager buyers.
Get on the radio. ‘Books travel by word of mouth.’ Authors need publicity, and should seek out interview opportunities. Canfield recalls an interview with Scott Peck, author of the wildly best-selling The Road Less Traveled that remained on the New York Times Bestsellers List for years. Peck spoke of doing three radio interviews every day for a year; he then did one interview a day for the next ten years! It can be a few minutes during morning or afternoon ‘drive time’, but getting 30 or 60 minutes outside of prime time allows for long-form interviews. ‘You never know who’s listening.’
Canfield is a fan of late-night interviews on all-night radio stations. ‘All it takes is one listener…to start a ‘chain letter’ effect.’ The trucker driving cross-country or the insomniac hears you, is intrigued and buys your book; he or she then buys copies to give to their college student daughter or military nephew, recommends it to their next-door neighbor and best friends, and so on.
‘People are still listening to the radio, or their advertisers wouldn’t be buying ads.’ Nowadays an author can participate in a satellite radio tour while sitting in their own home; they connect to a series of radio shows via a telephone bridge, and can knock out one or two dozen short interviews of 3-5 minute duration.
Expat publisher, author and writing mentor Jo Parfitt recently started her own radio show Writers Abroad on the Women’s International Network (WIN Radio). I had the honor of being interviewed by her as a growing writer, and the response was amazing. You can listen to the show athttp://www.thewinonline.com/writers-abroad
Get on television. Participating in a satellite television tour is the same concept as the radio tour. It requires you to make arrangements beforehand and then go into a local studio, but once there you can complete several interviews. You may have to start with smaller stations and build your way up, but don’t let your geographic location stand in your way.
Leverage social media. Create a website or blog, and maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In to facilitate sharing information and the word of mouth strategy to advertise your book(s). Conduct an internet book tour in which you visit prearranged relevant websites and chat rooms to discuss your book, or participate in a blog tour where you visit a number of blogs for short interviews or you provide a guest post.
A big tool is Bypass Marketing. Only one of seven book buyers go into a bookstore to buy a book, which means six out of seven aren’t coming to bookstores. ‘Take books to where the people are…especially anywhere people wait.’ Canfield and Hansen put books in gas stations, truck stops, bakeries, medical and dental offices, hair and nail salons, pet stores, military post exchanges, restaurants and other unusual places.
Get into a sharing mentality. If you co-author a book, ‘it’s not only less work to write and produce the book, but also to market it.’ You can cross-promote each others’ books, share mailing lists and expand publicity. If you’re an author of a single book, consider packaging yours with another author’s book that would be of interest to your audience when you sell ‘at the back of the room’ after a book signing or speech. In this way, ‘we all win bigger’.
Invest in your marketing education and become a master marketer. Canfield is a big proponent of reading books and articles, going to conferences, and taking seminars and workshops to stay on top of the latest developments. He cites Benjamin Franklin as saying ‘Pour your purse into your head’ (i.e., invest in continual learning).
‘Go beyond shelf esteem’ where you go to marketing education events and then put the handouts, materials and notes away, never to be referred to again; ‘Use what you’ve learned!’ Canfield reiterates ‘Don’t give away your responsibility for promotion and marketing to someone else…become an expert in this arena.’ Even if you do end up hiring a PR professional, you’ll know enough to oversee and augment their efforts. It is inspiring that despite enormous success, he continues to practice what he preaches.
Do the ‘hard-easy’. Make the time and energy investment up front so that you can do the easier things later. ‘Most people give up too soon’, before they’ve really done the hard work to market their books.
Going further, faster with less effort. Learn to leverage your work to create additional products and generate more publicity. Use a syndicated column to boost public relations and sell more books. Re-purpose your book and other writing material into pod casts, articles, handouts, blog posts, or short e-books. Develop an electronically-delivered newsletter or magazine via email (e-zine) or on the internet (web-zine).
Dialing for Dollars. If you’re truly interested in becoming a sought-after speaker, you have to be speaking to the organizations and associations you’re interested in. Do your research and track down the relevant catalogue or directory for your area of expertise (e.g., Directory of Direct Selling Businesses, Harrison’s Radio & TV Interview Report, etc.), then start making calls. ‘The best way to make things happen is on the phone.’ That’s how you can demonstrate that you are a vibrant, persuasive speaker, and they can see your value.
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